Not as Easy as it Looks

If you recall, last Sunday, I rather blithely posted about putting together a career plan. Well, let me loop you in on something that I didn’t expect: This is easier said than done. Later on, when I sat down to think about this, I realized that this wasn’t a minor undertaking – this was in fact, pretty huge.

In retrospect, I shouldn’t have been surprised at that. This is a “Career” plan we’re talking about. There’s so much involved and connected that it was more than a little daunting.

I’m going to do what I can to break this up into manageable chunks – both for my own benefit as well as yours.

First, I’m going to go back a bit to what I’m going to call my “Mission Statement” which was:

I want to be able to support myself and my family with my writing.

There are two things about that statement that I need to keep in mind. The first is that there’s a sliding scale implicit in that statement. Do I want to be able to do this at my current lifestyle? At the expense of my current lifestyle? How do I want that to look?

Other questions include whether or not that statement means that I need to make enough so that both myself and my wife can afford to quit the day-job.

So there needs to be some definition here. Maybe that initial statement should read:

I want to be able to maintain my current lifestyle while writing full time.

That’s going to take some fleshing out as well. What kind of writing am I talking about. I could write technical manuals, or advertising copy, or screenplays…

Or novels.

Or some combination of the above – maybe all of the above. The question that I’m asking myself here is what kind of writing do I want to be doing. And this isn’t going to pigeonhole me into a single format forever. Like I said earlier, this is something that I’m going to have to revisit pretty often – at least every six months, to see if I’m on track.

So, taking into account all of that, I’ve come up with the following statement (applicable for the next six, or so months):

I want to be able to maintain, or improve my current lifestyle through telling stories.

That covers both the long and short form stories, and screenwriting as well. One might make a convincing argument for ad copy as well, but I’m making the decision to not include that at this time.

I think that’s pretty comprehensive – in fact, I’ve already written it down where I’m going to see it on the regular.

That begs the question:

What’s next?

What happens when I reach that goal? Where do I go from there? Even after a few days of thinking about it, I’ve yet to come up with anything even close to an answer.

I know that this is something that I’m going to be revisiting, and since this is going to take time – so much time in fact that I will almost certainly be a different writer than I am today. Maybe “What’s Next” now is going to be different when I eventually get there.

So I’m going to trust (not blindly, I’ll be keeping my eyes open for clues) that when I reach my goal, there’ll be a “Whats Next” waiting for me.

That brings us to the next question: How do I get there?

The answer is going to sound trite, but here it is anyway:

One Step at a Time.

Now I can hear you rolling your eyes at me, but hear me out. There’s a heap-load of things that I can do to help me on my way. Cons, appearances, Social media presence, self promotion and, of course writing.

That last one is most important – I have to produce stories. The only way that happens is if I sit down regularly, and get to work.

Note that I didn’t say “Daily.” I’m not going to hang my success or failure on a “You-Must-do-This-at-All-Costs” stance.

What I am going to do is write every day – until I don’t. Life happens. There will come a time where I’ll need to take a day and refill the well, spend time with family, etc. It’s important to recognize that the art is a support system for life, not the other way around.

That’s the beginning of the career plan: Write regularly. Keep writing. Put yourself to work, and put yourself out there.

In hindsight, I shouldn’t be surprised by this and, as I type this up, I’m not surprised at all. I’m not done by a long shot, but I think I’ve got a pretty solid foundation to build on.

See you on Thursday!

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Weird Wild West

Trials

Chasing the Light

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